Keep in Touch

    Ten ways to keep your friendships and family relationships alive while you're at college:

    1. Get the news. Read your local and high-school newspaper. If it's impractical to have the papers sent weekly or daily, ask your parents to send a few select issues in care packages.

    2. Give the news. Your family and friends want to know what's happening in your new world. So send them articles from your school paper once in a while. (Be sure to send articles that mention you or something you're involved in.) You might also want to send them an events calendar. After all, they might like to plan a visit around a sporting event, concert, play or other campus happening. Also, give them your college's Web address—a great way for them to keep in touch with what's happening on campus.

    3. Surprise the folks. If you're not too far away, plan a surprise visit home for a family member's birthday or other special occasion. But be sure someone knows you're coming. If not, you might get there when everyone's on their way to visit you!

    4. Meet in cyberspace. If you and your family or friends are online, plan to meet regularly in a private chat room. And stay in touch via e-mail.

    5. Picture your world. Ask a friend to take pictures of you at various "landmarks" on campus. Have fun with crazy poses. On the back of each picture, write something significant, interesting or funny about where the photo was taken. Each time you write home, include one of the pictures.

    6. Remember the little things. Send homemade cards on important occasions. Send a friend a buck and ask him/her to buy your little sib's favorite candy bar and deliver it. Purchase gift certificates to your mom and dad's favorite fast-food restaurant and mail them with a quick note saying, "Hey, you fed me all these years. Have one on me!" Whatever you do, be creative and give it a personal touch.

    7. Create stationery that says "you." Make your own goofy, personalized stationery for your letters home. For instance: Photocopy your face (be sure you close your eyes!) and use the paper to write a letter.

    8. Note the family weekends. Take advantage of the dates of on-campus family and sibling weekends. If your family's unable to visit, see if your youth pastor and a group of friends can come and be your "family" for at least part of the weekend.

    9. DJ your own "family show." Use a cassette to record songs that are family favorites. Between songs, tell personal stories and make special dedications to a family member. When you're done, send it to your family.

    10. Give your friends a video tour. If you can borrow a camcorder, have someone videotape you taking a walking tour around campus. Point out places of interest. Do brief, candid interviews with students and profs. Keep the video light by adding funny comments throughout.